Review: Godflesh – A World Lit Only By Fire

Posted: May 25, 2015 in Reviews
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One of those records that bares time and reflection on, last year’s opus from the kings of industrial, ‘A World Lit Only By Fire’ is an exercise in pure riff and noise density. Godflesh have always been pioneers in this genre, ever since 89’s superlative ‘Streetcleaner’, but their comeback record is a perfection of everything they’ve ever done. The first Godflesh record in 13 years, and it feels like it was the only thing that could fill the void they left after ‘Hymns’.

Opener ‘New Dark Ages’ is a bulldozing riff workout that grinds down upon you hard and relentlessly. It brings back that memory of the first time I ever heard the uncaring dirge of ‘Like Rats’, a song that will forever be in my top 20 greatest music discoveries. Second track ‘Deadend’ pulses with a similar minimalistic sledgehammer riff pattern. Relentlessly repetitive, each bar comes crushing heavier and heavier. This feels like the end of the world; industrialised armageddon steamrolling humanity into the ground. ‘Shut Me Down’ has almost what you would think is a catchy groove, until you realise you’re banging your head to an anthem of your own destruction.

Jesu was Justin K Broadrick’s vehicle for introspective, dreamy post metal/post rock soundscapes, and with many quality releases under that banner, you felt maybe that nihilistic bent had left him. Not so it would appear. ‘A World Lit Only By Fire’ is a churning, monolithic beast, free of almost all of Jesu’s melodic trappings. Sure, Jesu was heavy, but it was never this morosely bleak, this unforgiving, this dark. ‘A World Lit Only By Fire’ benefits immensely from a clear and crisp production; while losing that grimy and filthy atmosphere that ‘Streetcleaner’ had, it brings Godflesh into the 21st century. Their mechanical end time preachings are now startlingly modern, and Broadrick’s vocals have lost that cavernous roar but to great effect. He comes across as much more flexible since his work with Jesu, and the ghostly fade out of ‘Towers of Emptiness’ is a perfect example.

If one day the world comes crashing down in a twisted mass of industrial decay, be sure that it will be soundtracked by this. Godflesh return with spectacular results. Monolithic riff worship gets no finer than this. Bow your heads peasants, it’s time for your bones to build their roads.

 

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